Sony Ericsson Xperia Play review

The PlayStation Phone finally lands - but can it live up to the hype?

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The interface on the Xperia Play looks pretty similar to its cousin, the Xperia Arc. By default, there are five Home screens to populate as you wish, with a persistent dock-like bar along the bottom with space enough for four customisable icons and a static menu launcher.

The Contacts and Phone apps take up the right two slots, with the left two given over to the Media folder and Messaging. We fast swapped out the Media file for the Browser, given that one of the five Home screens is already filled with widgets for the Gallery and Music apps, but you can hone this bar as you wish.

Tapping the centre icon on the dock brings up a list of apps to add to your Home screens, and all you need do is press and hold one to drag it into a free slot. Handily, the background lines behind it will turn green when you've found a valid place, so organising is fast and intuitive.

Sony ericsson xperia play review menu

One minor quibble we do have is that you'll have to bypass this system and go via the external menu key to place widgets, folders and shortcuts, which seems a little inconsistent and caused us some early confusion.

Sony ericsson xperia play review widgets

By default, the centre screen is almost entirely given over to the Timescape widget, which acts like a stream of postcards, each presenting Facebook and Twitter updates as well as text messages. Much like the Friend Stream system we've seen on recent HTC models, each of these acts as a slick starting point for finding the content you want.

Sony ericsson xperia play review timescape

Other screens tend to be more open, but notably there's one screen dedicated to gaming, with a half-screen widget for the PlayStation Pocket app and a link to the Android Market to buy more games.

All you need do to navigate between screens is swipe left and right, but there's also an exploded view of all your widgets that you can access by pinching. Tap on a widget and you'll be taken to its resident Home screen.

We're not huge fans of this system, since it neglects to show you apps as well, making it selectively useful, but if you're a widget-fiend then it's perfect.

Scrolling left and right between Home screens is generally quick and fluid, though. However, we've found it can be jerky just after waking the device from its slumber in the mornings. On the flip side, we were impressed by the speed of the scrolling Rolodex-style widgets (as well as the PS Pocket, there's one for the Gallery, too), making them eminently usable.

Sony ericsson xperia play review home

Taken as a whole, the system doesn't quite gel together as we'd like, but its not hard to learn to work around its quirks.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.36 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXPERIA
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5.1 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time8.41 Hour
Product ModelPlay
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)175 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, REACH
Maximum Video Resolution800 x 480
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height119 mm
Width62 mm
Depth16 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time425 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA Play Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXPERIA
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberXPERIAPLAYBLK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Need a super efficient, full-featured smartphone with Facebook inside Xperia? And what if it also had real game controls? You got it. The Xperia™ PLAY. A PlayStation certified Android smartphone that lets you immerse yourself in the games you want.

The latest Google apps on your Android mobile

Never get lost again. Explore cities and sights with 3D maps. Use Google Voice Search to call, text and more. With your Xperia PLAY Android mobile, there's no need to type. Just speak. Want more? Get the apps you need from Android Market.

"So, is this the PlayStation phone?"

Once a fantasy. Now a reality. The first PlayStation Certified Android smartphone gives you incredible graphics, great sound and real game controller. This phone is not actually named "the PlayStation™ phone" though - we call it Xperia PLAY.

Limited Warranty2 Year